Dartmouth progress

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Paul Townsend
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Dartmouth progress

Postby Paul Townsend » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:00 am

Gosh, nearly a year since I updated!

Here are a couple of pix taken during the preparations for its first outing at Scaleforum.

The baseboards are shown plonked onto their normal high domestic underpinnings but not joined together. They are taken from a high position to give an idea of how it will be seen at Scaleforum in Aylesbury in two weeks time as part of the Scalefour Society Bristol Area Groups demos.

The state of the layout is most track laid and wired and currently under test and debug for simple dc operation to suit the rolling stock being lent for the exhibition. A test load yesterday has proved that they will all fit into my Skoda Octavia Estate. ( Phew! ). The current task over next few days is to rerig it onto the lower trestle and girder underpinnings which will be used at Aylesbury. For this first outing the layout will be a bit over 1Metre above floor...this "low" display height will make debugging easier at the show. Because all is very new, I expect some faults will develop in transit and re-rigging.

There is no scenery, buildings, lighting or backscene yet. These are planned to be on separate narrow boards behind those shown here. They will eventually travel in another car.

Inevitably I have not progressed as much as I hoped.....every job still takes longer than expected! This winter my tasks will be to complete my first two Broad Gauge locos which will enable the conversion to dcc and continue developing the MERG electrics towards the goal of partial automation which will allow operation by one bod. Some scenery and backscenes will also start asap.

P1030649.JPG


This above picture shows the station end of the layout.
The middle section with track on gradients is the rural area and the right hand end leads into the fiddle yard traverser with carriage sidings and MPD in front seen in the pic below
The traverser is just manual now but I have a proven stepper motor drive system which will allow control from the station operating position.
P1030643.JPG

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kelly
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby kelly » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:36 pm

Looking forward to seeing this after your talk about it previously at a merg meeting.
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Paul Townsend
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Paul Townsend » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:53 pm

At this stage the MERG content is non-existent. I ran out of time !
However I did spend some weeks last winter developing the MERG content on a N-Gauge pseudo-Dartmouth which I hope to bring to Aylesbury if there is car space. It wont be live but may cause some conversations :D

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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Phil O » Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:28 pm

The layout was looking good on the Sunday afternoon, when I had a look too see the progress, it's come on a long way since I saw you demoing the bridge and associated track a few years back.

Phil.

Alan Woodard
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Alan Woodard » Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:26 pm

Hi Paul.

I saw this at scaleforum and was most impressed with the track work. Did you manage to run a train in the end ?
The clerestory coach was beautiful, a superb standard of modelling. Looking forward to seeing it all completed.

Cheers.

Al.

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kelly
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby kelly » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:03 pm

It was great to get a chance to have a look at this at Scaleforum. It was very impressive and will be even more so when you complete it!
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Le Corbusier
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Le Corbusier » Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:13 pm

I would add my voice to the praise Paul. Fantastic to see the scale and scope of the track work in the flesh. I am really excited to watch this develop over the next few years ... inspirational stuff :thumb
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Paul Townsend
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Paul Townsend » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:56 am

Alan Woodard wrote:Hi Paul.

I saw this at scaleforum and was most impressed with the track work. Did you manage to run a train in the end ?
The clerestory coach was beautiful, a superb standard of modelling. Looking forward to seeing it all completed.

Cheers.

Al.

We succeeded in running the occasional train as promised. It will be easier when the 4th turnout on the run round loop has switches!
Credit for rolling stock goes to Chris Jones

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Paul Townsend
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Paul Townsend » Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:01 am

Le Corbusier wrote:I would add my voice to the praise Paul. Fantastic to see the scale and scope of the track work in the flesh. I am really excited to watch this develop over the next few years ... inspirational stuff :thumb

The first booked showing as a fully operational layout is RailWells 2020.
There should be scenery and some buildings by then. If I have completed minimum of two locos so can go dcc there is the intention for the Merg operated partial automation too.

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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Paul Townsend » Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:51 am

Another 18 months gone by!
Following S4um 2018 where the embryo Dartmouth got a bit of exposure, Chris Challis confirmed his invitation to display at RailWells in August 2020. So I drew up an 18 month schedule of tasks to move the layout forward.

I was pretty much on time at March 1st 2020 but had been getting alarming messages from our two sons and their families in Rome and Tuscany, since early February.

Well we all know what that was about and how it has changed all our lives.

Sylvia was glad that I would have " a stay of execution " and could be more relaxed about my schedule. Fair enough but I know that a deadline focusses the mind on essentials and setting priorities, so didn't want to turn off all the plan, just add a year and re-juggle priorities.

The effect on Dartmouth is that I can now envisage that by August 2021 I can have the desired option of DCC in use. The plan for this August was DC only, that decision driven largely by the certainty that with so much to do on the layout infrastructure I would not have time to complete any of my own locos. Thus the 2020 show would rely on chums' BG locos which are all DC. AFAIK no-one has built a BG DCC loco! YET :)

Then Editor Tim pops up with his lockdown project of building an old Mke Sharman white metal BG loco kit!

Great. He will have the honour of running the first BG DCC train in the world.

So I have been spending my modelling time, since we went into vouluntary lockdown on March 1st, on the new schedule plan.

My other Tim chum, known locally as Ancient Tim to distinguish from Young Tim, aka Editor Tim, had just finished building the last and 18th mixed gauge turnout for the carriage sidings/MPD zone and was able to do a no contact handover in early March. That got laid on Baseboard 10 which enabled me to wire it up, initially for DC only like all other boards. These are all future proof in that the necessary wire bits for DCC use are in place together withn the traction feed changeover relays. The original plan was to defer the building and installation of the MERG kits to do all the DCC trickery for partial automation until after RailWells 2020.

My revised schedule meant that I could fully equip Baseboard 10 with its electronics from the start. It has now been tested with NG locos on DC and DCC. BG has been tested on DC only, and awaits YT's loco for proving on DCC.

There is a great deal of mixed gauge track that is laid, wired and tested on both Baulk Road and transverse sleepered track. In the latter case it is using my hybrid Brook-Smith and C&L chairs technique. We laid all that track with soldered rivets every 5th sleeper and 100% in turnouts. Whole plastic chairs are in place but not yet butanoned. That makes for easiest tweaking on initial trials.

I have commissioned Richard Lane to turn the required turntable well for me, using a special form of hard mdf which is understood to be very stable. Anyone who saw Pete Tarver's Ilkley shed at S4um 2018 or RailWells 2019 will have seen an example of this in use. Like Pete my TT bridge is using the London Road 50ft kit.

The works will be my own design using a microstepping motor, toothed belt precision drive and Arduino controlled.

The well and bridge will resemble the prototype of the original Brunel turntable unearthed a few years ago at Westbourne Park. BGS was invited on site to measure and photograph some unusual features.

This TT will go onto Baseboard 10 as soon as Richard is able to deliver the hunk of wood. I declared it as my lockdown project !

Once that is in place I will have no excuse to delay any longer a dreadful set of essential chores:
Butanone all those full chairs, chop and stick half chairs to soldered rivets, paint rail sides, ballast and weather.

My sanity will be preserved while doing those tasks by starting scenery and buildings.

Because of the nature of the work since S4um 2018 there is very little to show so no photos here, most is boring hidden stuff. Next update WILL include some piccies....

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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Terry Bendall » Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:23 am

Sounds like very good progress Paul. It will be good to see the layout at Wells 2021.

Terry Bendall

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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby davebradwell » Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:57 am

If you're micro-stepping the turntable, why do you want a belt drive? Just mount the deck on the motor shaft. Cut out the middle-man. You'll need a motor with a decent size shaft, of course, and real bearings. Less work all round.

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Paul Townsend
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Paul Townsend » Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:27 am

davebradwell wrote:If you're micro-stepping the turntable, why do you want a belt drive? Just mount the deck on the motor shaft. Cut out the middle-man. You'll need a motor with a decent size shaft, of course, and real bearings. Less work all round.

DaveB

Fair comment inn general but I don't have enough baseboard depth to do that.
The belt drive also allows a backlash free "gear"reduction ratio of 5:1 so microsteps can be bigger and get more torque at the business end

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Paul Townsend
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Paul Townsend » Wed Nov 25, 2020 4:35 pm

Long time, no updates......

Loads of transverse sleepered mixed gauge track has been built and laid, with help from Tim and Dave, all now wired but not yet ballasted. Much time was spent installing Merg CBus electronics for the control system....much of this is now configured and turnout servos working. Electrics are now in place for servos for signals, uncouplers etc and eventual automation.

Provision is made for DC on the track so conventional section switches support that. Each section has a bunch of relays driven from CBus that enables any of the 7 sections to be fed by any one of 4 sources of track power. Two of these are manual DC controllers and the other two are DCC, one for manual control and t'other driven by JMRI for automation.

In theory these 4 track power sources are in one box which should enable me to drive the DC or DCC systems from Merg CanCabs which are neat little hand-held controllers that can plug into the layout at multiple positions with short curly cables. There are, within Merg, 2 sets of eyes twinkling with promises of radio link replacing the short cables...maybe one day ! I say in theory because the Arduino software which will allow the CanCab to generate track DC is still under development by more experienced programmers. Current DC trials are still with Pictroller. DCC works with the Merg system OK at least for the narrow gauge tracks, as yet there are no completed Broad Gauge DCC locos, see below.

Two control panels are built although they await pretty front panels. The Station one came first and is sub-optimal as I made it too small for some chums with banana fingers so it will get replaced by MkII which will be bigger, as is the one for the rural and fiddle yard.

These can be plugged into the layout in several locations as convenient for test and operation as the interface is just a 4 way cable for CBus.

This summer work on the layout slowed down as we bought a Motorhome to allow Sylvia out of the house with me for countryside visits. We had several sessions away.....great fun. I now have a 12v soldering iron and mini workbench at the ready.

Current task is the loco turntable. Richard Lane kindly turned me a well in a stable form of thick MDF to my design which is based on photos of an actual BG TT excavated a few years ago at Westbourne Park during preps for Crossrail and Electification. It is an early Brunel design so has unusual features of interest. The bridge is derived from the London Road kit for standard 50ft GWR, improved for the required 4 rails for mixed gauge. I am today building the short transition track which links the 4 rail TT to normal 3 rail MG track.

As with so many projects the TT work stalled with a side issue. In this case when I found my ancient Cowells lathe had a stretched and frayed drive belt. Dismantling for the new belt was a challenge but done now after advice from Cowells and struggles with a burred Woodruff key. This TT project was supposed to be my "Lock-down challenge" back in the Spring! The lathe was required to make some sleeves and bearings to link the London Road drive shaft to a toothed belt pulley whch gives a 5:1 ratio driven by a stepper motor. I thus avoid gears with backlash so that the stepper motor holding torque is conveyed tightly to the bridge.

Once the TT is planted, the linking track and wiring is finished, that will be the last scenic baseboard up and running.

Hopefully ballasting and some scenery will follow this winter.

Regarding BG locos, I am currently reliant on loaned models which are DC only. The program for DCC locos has accelerated for two reasons. The BGS members have caused a selection of resin printed loco bodies to be available so I have acquired a few. My friend Tim Merry, known to BS4 Area Group as Ancient Tim, who built most of the GWR locos at Highbridge, has succumbed to BG temptation and is currently building Pyracmon which is an early precursor to the Gooch 0-6-0 Standard Goods from around 1846. This loco was still in service to mid 1870s so is good for Dartmouth. Tim's experience with CSB and other kits has made it possible to have a loco with split frames and good suspension under a 3D printed body. He had several hiccoughs due to the mixed technologies but is a good problem solver. The latest arose as the motor I supplied had a 1.5mm shaft and the High Level gearbox worm has a 2mm bore , my mistake, quickly rectified by Chris Gibbons who has sent small bore worms for this and some other planned locos in record time. Thanks Chris. This BG caper is infectious as it was caught by Young Tim aka EditorTim as well. He has an ongoing adventure with a white metal Hercules from Mike Sharman's stable. If I am lucky there will soon be two BG DCC locos under trial !

So lots of progress and even more recognition of how much is still to do!

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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Terry Bendall » Thu Nov 26, 2020 9:51 am

Lots of interesting ideas mentioned Pau and like other things which are a bit unconventional, lots of problems to solve. :thumb It will be good to see progress in the flesh at some stage when we can get back to holding exhibitions.

Terry Bendall

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Neil Smith
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Neil Smith » Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:50 pm

This whole thread is fascinating, but I have been trying for some minutes to work out how a mixed gauge turntable would best work, with that transition from three to four rail. I get that the turntable has to be four rail so it can accept incoming NG locos however the bridge is orientated, amd that a turned NG loco would be in the wrong place to run back off on the rails it had come in on. So clearly therefore there has to be jiggerypokery in the approach road(s). Do you have a photo or a drawing of how that transition is done to put me out of my misery please Paul?

All the best

Neil

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby grovenor-2685 » Thu Nov 26, 2020 1:11 pm

Not GWR but the principle is the same, 3'6" and 5'3" gauges.Image

More here http://www.norgrove.me.uk/mg-track.htm
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Keith
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Neil Smith
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Neil Smith » Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:15 pm

Thanks Keith. Where I was going wrong was thinking that on the table bridge that the four rails were for BG outer and then the SG sharing either one of the outer rails plus its own inner rails. Whereas actually it is the SG sat on its own two rails which share a centre line with the BG.....?

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby grovenor-2685 » Thu Nov 26, 2020 4:02 pm

Yep, concentric track on the turntable, and in the pic above concentric to suit the sheeploading chute. The Gladstone table had 3 gauge concentric track 5'3", 4'8.5" and 3'6" but none of the approach tracks had more than 2 gauges. (Photo on my page).
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Keith
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Neil Smith
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Neil Smith » Thu Nov 26, 2020 8:33 pm

Concentric is a much more efficient way of saying what I was trying to write, Keith. And yes, it was your photo of the turntable, plus the one of the sheeploading chute, that led to the penny dropping...! Thank you!

bécasse
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby bécasse » Thu Nov 26, 2020 10:21 pm

The tracks have to be concentric as otherwise it would be impossible to balance one or other gauge of locomotive on the table - and you should try turning an unbalanced loco!

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Paul Townsend
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Paul Townsend » Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:54 am

Neil Smith wrote: So clearly therefore there has to be jiggerypokery in the approach road(s). Do you have a photo or a drawing of how that transition is done to put me out of my misery please Paul?

Neil

I will post a piccy here of the 3 to 4 rail jiggery pokey once it is built, quite soon I hope.
Edit:
It is built and is gluing down so pic tomorrow.

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Paul Townsend
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Paul Townsend » Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:10 pm

A couple of piccies to show my interpretation of how the South Devon Railway and friends did the mixed gauge 3 rail to 4 rail stepover for a turntable.
No moving switch, it just relies on the check rail pulling the Narrow Gauge vehicle across. A similar technique was applied on running lines where the NG rail had to change sides. To improve rolling stock safety at higher than walking speed, a casting was added to support the flange through the gap.

The TT awaits its BG rails and all will look better when painted and ballasted.

P1080438.JPG


P1080442.JPG

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Neil Smith
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Neil Smith » Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:44 pm

Thank you! Very clear now!

Keith's Australian photos above also have it switch free, so not just South Devon!

All the best

Neil

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Noel
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Re: Dartmouth progress

Postby Noel » Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:52 pm

AP, the overhead shot suggests that one side of the NG is parallel to the BG, but the other not, and that the rails don't quite align properly with the turntable. Or am I imagining it?
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Noel


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